Aussie Oil questions from USA pen turner.

Aussie Oil questions from USA pen turner.

Below are a series of questions from a pen turner in USA about using Aussie Oil over CA (cyanoacrylate aka super glue) along with my responses. This email exchange took place from Jan 13th to 15th 2022 and may be of some help to others.
Senders name and contact deleted for privacy.


Good afternoon from the United States. I would like to start off saying that I absolutely love Aussie Oil as a finish on my pens. It is so simple to use and I love the shine.

My question is- can I use Aussie Oil over another finish?
For instance, I use reclaimed woods  including spalted maple, which can be a bit soft or punky in spots, so I like to use Danish Oil to soak into the wood and harden it up a bit. I also will use heavily grained woods, such as oak or chestnut and use CA glue as a grain filler to give a smoother finish. I have been using lacquer over those pens.

Can I use Aussie Oil over Danish Oil or CA that has been used as a grain filler? I would really prefer to, but don’t know how it would react, if at all, or if the durability or shine would be adversely affected. If you have any information on using Aussie Oil over Danish oil or CA, I would love to hear about it, and if not, I may have to experiment with them a bit. Thank you in advance.

My response:
Many penmakers use AO over CA Many have stopped using CA completely here in Australia in favour of AO. For years they also used Shellawax over CA and many are using Shellawax only now.

Organoil (Australian manufacturer of multiple oil finishes) have used and recommended, Shellawax on some (many) of their oils for years to keep the high shine on their oil finish. They have used it over their Danish Oil with no problems. Anything that Shellawax works on Aussie Oil will work on. Don’t know of anyone using DO on pens here in Australia due to the time required to get a decent long-lasting finish.

I personally worried about both AO and Shellawax being used over CA due to the long term problems with CA going brittle and flaking from some timbers. However since people started using Shellawax or Glow (Glow not available in US) over the CA, there don’t seem to be the inherent problems that used to go hand in hand with CA.

Many pen-turners also use EEE-Ultra Shine over CA as a final abrasive prior to finishing with Shellawax or Glow. Not sure if it’s being used prior to AO. AO does work over EEE on raw wood.

Shellawax and EEE are available in US along with Shellawax Cream (Not my preference for use on pens) .

Aussie Oil and Shellawax are based on our special Hard Shellac (not available in US either) giving them almost the same hardness and durability as Laminex or Melamine bench tops. Hence the reason many here have stopped using CA on their pens here.

Hope this is of some help to you.

Regards – Neil Ellis

From USA:
Neil- I can’t thank you enough for the prompt reply and excellent information. I truly appreciate it. I personally dislike CA as a finish. I want to feel the texture of the wood of my pens and quite frankly, I have never had any luck using CA. I always end up with cracks, chips, or other defects. I find that it does have its uses, for repairs or a filler for defects, just not as a finish for me.

Aussie Oil, on the other hand, has been everything I could hope for and is my absolute go-to finish. I use it by itself, without any other products but look forward to using it now on my ‘problem’ turnings instead of lacquer. When customers ask, I always tell them that their pen is finished with Aussie Oil to give due credit. I will definitely take your advise and give EEE a try

My response:
Forgot to mention earlier. When doing pens or other functional items that are handled regularly it’s a good idea to give the item at least 3 coats or more if you wish. For decorative items you can get away with one or 2 coats.

The reason for extra coats is, the first coat is basically in the wood and may be easier to damage. 2nd 3rd and any subsequent coats will give a good surface coating that will withstand marking from water, alcohol, heat etc and in the case of pens should even stand up to hands with acidic sweaty.

Many years ago I had a turning and carving student with acidic sweat and I had to have him wear cotton or surgical gloves, because within minutes of him touching the metal on the tools there would be a rusty fingerprint etched into the blade.

Also, many years ago, a morbidly obese lawyer in New York was sold a Brazilian Rosewood pen with Shellawax finish. He had the pen in his white shirt pocket. He sweated so profusely that he ended up with a pink shirt pocket. After talking to the big dude, the pen was returned to the maker, where it was disassembled, rechucked, resanded, up to 1500 grit 3 coats of Shellawax, plus another for good measure. The pen was returned to the big fella with the guarantee that if it happened again, I would buy him a new shirt along with the pen of his choice. Never heard from him or the maker again. Thank goodness because he said he was fond of a gold Cartier fountain pen worth over a US1,000.00. Phew!!! 

Anyway. The more coats the better. And allow up to 20 days for full cross-linking to take place. Can be used pretty much straight away as the surface is about as hard as it gets when it has cooled from the polishing, but doesn’t have its full potential to guard against marking from all the bad stuff mentioned above until the 20 days is up.

From USA:
Thank you for the additional information. That’s pretty gross, but I can see it happening. I did a couple of craft shows before Christmas and was worried about people handling the pens and ruining the finish, but I can see its not a concern because I do put 3 coats on each pen. I do this part time, so my pens tend to sit and rest a bit before I assemble them and offer them for sale. I will definitely keep the 20 day recommendation in mind though to make sure things are well set and the layers are cross-linked.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *